Monthly Archives: March 2012

Gluten Free Hummingbird Cake

When I was in grad school I lived in Kentuckiana. Don’t know what that is? It is the metro area around Louisville, KY that includes parts of Southern Indiana. Right down the street from the church I attended is a place called the Derby Dinner Playhouse. Traveling productions of plays and musicals are performed there, and you enjoy a buffet dinner. I had the chance to attend a couple of different performances at the Derby Dinner Playhouse and thoroughly enjoyed the experience. Apart from the wonderful shows, the thing I remember most about this place was dessert. It was the first time I had ever heard of hummingbird cake, let alone tried it. This moist cake, with the flavors of banana and pineapple was so good. Add the cream cheese frosting and it became one of my favorite cakes. Well, this week I had some old bananas, and couldn’t bring myself to make another loaf of banana bread. Taking a recipe I’ve used in the past and making some adjustments I came up with a great gluten-free version of this cake. It wasn’t the prettiest cake I’ve ever made, and in future I would increase the the amount of frosting (so I could frost the sides)…but the texture was perfect and it tasted fabulous!

Gluten Free Hummingbird Cake


  • 3 cups gluten free all-purpose flour (I use this)
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons xanthan gum
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/4 cups vegetable oil
  • 5 eggs
  • 1 (8 ounce) can crushed pineapple with juice
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 and 1/2 cups mashed bananas


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour three 9-inch round cake pans (I use rice flour for this).
  2. Combine the flour, xanthan gum, sugar, salt, ground cinnamon and baking soda.
  3. Beat the eggs until you can see bubbles from where air has been incorporated into them. Add the oil and well-beaten eggs, stir by hand, until moistened. Stir in the vanilla, pineapple, nuts and bananas.
  4. Spoon batter into the prepared pans. Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 25 to 30 minutes. Let cakes cool in pans for 10 minutes. Then turn out onto racks to cool. Frost with Cream Cheese Frosting. In future I would increase the frosting recipe by half or maybe even double it.
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Baked Chili Rellenos-Gluten Free

I’ve mentioned before that I love Mexican food. I also like trying to make it at home. One of my favorite Mexican meals is chili rellenos. I’ve always enjoyed these, but over the past 4 or 5 years, I’ve found that the enjoyment is short lived. The greasiness of the dish upsets my stomach. Also, every  recipe I’ve seen for fried chili rellenos calls for flour to sprinkle on the peppers. I could use rice flour, but I like being able to just forgo the flour all together. So, I set out on a mission to find an alternative way of making chili rellenos. While the texture is slightly different, I find these baked chili rellenos incredibly tasty, with none of the stomach ache problems associated with the fried version.

Baked Chili Rellenos


  • 14 oz chorizo
  • 6-8 poblano peppers, roasted and pealed (Check out this recipe for step by step instructions if you need them.)
  • 8 0z cheddar block, sliced into 1/2 inch slices
  • 8 oz monterey jack block, sliced into 1/2 inch slices
  • 8 eggs, separated
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Cook the chorizo until it is completely cooked. Drain the grease and spread the meat in the bottom of a greased 9×13 baking dish.
  3. Gently cut a slit in each pepper, from top to bottom on one side. Remove as many seeds as possible.
  4. Place one slice each of cheddar and monterey jack cheese into pepper. Gently close the pepper around the cheese.
  5. Next, beat the egg whites until they are still stiff peaks. Gently fold in the yolks and then the melted butter.
  6. Spread about 1/3 of the egg mixture evenly over the chorizo.
  7. Place the stuffed peppers over the eggs, try and leave a small amount of space between each pepper.
  8. Cover the peppers with the remaining egg mixture.
  9. Bake for 30-40 minutes or until the cheese is melted and the eggs are cooked.
  10. Serve immediately.
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Shrimp and Grits

I’m going to admit to something. I have a  little addiction that is a bit embarrassing. This addiction is to a British actor. I like to watch his TV shows, movies, read his interviews and I’m quite fond of the numerous blogs that are dedicated to him (the blogs I like more for the intelligent, funny women who run them than for the actor himself). You’re probably wondering why I’m making this confession. Well, one of those blogs had a post recently talking about how wonderful the South is. In that blog she mentioned shrimp and grits, even posting a picture. Now, I’ve heard of this combination before, but I’ve never tried it. But after reading her blog, I decided it was time to give shrimp and grits a go. This may be a new go-to meal in my house, it was so good. I found a recipe online which I used as a base, here is the original recipe. I made some adjustments  to the recipe to make it both gluten free and increase the amount of veggies in the dish.

Shrimp and Grits


  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup milk
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup regular grits
  • 3/4 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon hot sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon white pepper
  • 3 bacon slices
  • 1 pound medium-size shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup white rice flour
  • 1 cup sliced mushrooms
  • 1/2 bell pepper, chopped (red, yellow or orange)
  • 1/2 medium white onion, chopped
  • 3 green onions, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon hot sauce


  1. Bring first 4 ingredients to a boil in a medium saucepan; gradually whisk in grits. Reduce heat, and simmer, stirring occasionally, 5-7 minutes or until thickened. Add Cheddar cheese and next 4 ingredients. Keep warm.
  2. Cook bacon in a large skillet until crisp; remove bacon, and drain on paper towels, reserving 1 tablespoon drippings in skillet. Crumble bacon, and set aside.
  3. Sprinkle shrimp with pepper and salt; dredge in rice flour.
  4. Sauté mushrooms, white onion, and bell pepper in hot drippings in skillet 5 minutes or until tender. Add green onions, and sauté 2 minutes. Add shrimp and garlic, and sauté 2 minutes or until shrimp are lightly brown. Stir in chicken broth, lemon juice, and hot sauce, and cook 2 more minutes, stirring to loosen particles from bottom of skillet.
  5. Serve shrimp mixture over hot cheese grits. Top with crumbled bacon.
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Tomato-Free Barbeque Nachos

I have a new addiction. Our local Aldi store has started carrying a new product: crinkle cut sweet potato chips. One day while munching on this delicious snack, I had the thought that they would be great as a bed for barbeque nachos. The only problem is my allergy to tomatoes. After some research on Google, I found what I needed, a recipe for tomato free barbeque sauce. Well, today I finally got around to testing out the barbeque sauce and giving the nacho idea a try. Both, I’m pleased to say turned out really well! The barbeque sauce had all the traditional flavors that I expect and the texture was quite good. And the sweet potato chips worked out wonderfully.

They may not be beautiful, but they're tasty.

Tomato Free Barbeque Nachos


  • Tomato-free barbeque sauce, 1 batch
  • 2.5 lb beef bottom round roast
  • 1 cup orange juice
  • 2 onions, halved and sliced
  • garlic powder
  • salt and pepper
  • Sweet potato chips
  • Sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
  • pickled jalapeno slices
  • sour cream


  1. Place the roast in a crock pot and season with garlic powder, salt and pepper. Add the onions and orange juice. Cook on low for 10 to 12 hour.
  2. Two hours before the roast is done, add the barbeque sauce.
  3. Remove the onions and beef from liquid. Pour the liquid into a medium sized pan and boil it thickens.
  4. While barbeque sauce liquid is thickening, shred the beef roast.
  5. Combine the sauce, shredded beef and onions.
  6. Layer sweet potato chips, barbeque beef, and shredded cheese. Microwave until the cheese is melted. Top with sour cream and jalapeno slices.
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I made this today with a couple of changes, just to experiment. Instead of water I used coffee and I added a pinch of cayenne. It was so easy and really good. I’m sure the original version is wonderful too!


Chocolate is one of those ingredients that, every now and then, simply must feature in the life of any respectable person – not including those of you who, physically or medically, can’t ingest or digest it. It really is the height of decadence and as such is one of those entities, for I am loath to call it an ingredient, that will never become cliché, or over used. Simply put, chocolate is astounding and has been for centuries. Quite honestly, if you are not a fan of chocolate I’m a little unsure about what you’re playing at.

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